Highland Park cops adopt a Detroit anti-crime tactic -- live video monitoring

February 04, 2021, 7:41 PM

Flashing security lights are a different color, but Highland Park's new approach matches one used in Detroit since 2016.

A new Project Blue Light program lets Highland Park Police monitor video cameras in participating party stores, fast-food spots, gas stations, bars and other businesses, as Detroit does with Project Green Light.

"By installing real-time cameras at each Blue Light location, [police] can access and review video from police headquarters in order to improve community safety," the city says at its website. One goal is faster response to dangerous situations "by using real-time monitoring of the cameras."


The city connects interested business owners with approved installers of cameras, signs and exterior blue lights. "Audio-video experts from [police dpeartment] will ... conduct a site survey, detailing where cameras should be installed ... [and] conduct a post-installation audit and ensure that the installation meets the requirements of the program," the announcement adds. 

Sunrise Cleaners on Woodward serves as a demonstration site.

Charles W. Lackey III, the city's director of information technology, tells WDET: "We felt that our citizens should have the same kind of law enforcement assistive technology available" in Detroit, Ecorse and elsewhere. 

"Typical costs will be about $2,000 for about four cameras, starting off. Right now, we have about 40 businesses that are interested in signing up. ...

"We want to be able to prevent crime from happening. And, if crime happens, we want to be able to use the video or the media from the system to bring those individuals to justice."

When reporter Laura Herberg of the public radio station raised "concerns about surveillance leading to wrongful convictions," Lackey replied:

"We are not employing active facial recognition technology in our system. Not yet, and not in the foreseeable future. Not until that kind of technology’s been vetted."

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